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The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010) *1/2

July 13, 2010

Written by: Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Matt Lopez, Doug Miro, and Carlo Bernard

Produced by: Jerry Bruckheimer

Directed by: Jon Turteltaub

Rated PG for fantasy action violence, some mild rude humor and brief language

111 mins

U.S. Release Date: July 14, 2010 (wide)

Walt Disney Pictures, mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Jon Turteltaub, and Nicolas Cage team up, once again, to present the feature-length extrapolation of the classic Disney story “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.  You may remember it from the short piece in Disney’s Fantasia, where Mickey Mouse puts on a magical hat only to animate a bunch of brooms, mops, and soap buckets to clean his master’s work space.  However loose of an interpretation it may be, the film adapts this story to tell one of a young boy who has a special power and the potential to become the greatest sorcerer that ever lived.  The Sorcerer’s Apprentice features Nicolas Cage as a sorcerer, a hard-thumping pop soundtrack, and a tweenie love story, but is there enough entertainment to bring the film up to a positive overall experience?

Legendary sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) has endured a centuries-long journey throughout the globe while looking for a young boy who will one day become the Prime Merlinian, a powerful sorcerer who can conjure up magic without the aid of a magic ring or staff.  Fast-forward to modern-day New York City.  Balthazar is trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina).  Horvath is attempting to awaken the evil sorceress Morgana (Alice Krige).  Balthazar is not powerful enough to do it alone, and is struggling to find the chosen Merlinian.

One day, Blake stumbles upon Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates great potential. It becomes clear to Balthazar that Dave is indeed the Prime Merlinian, so the sorcerer proposes that the young man becomes his protégé.  After much debate, Dave reluctantly agrees, and the training process begins.  The sorcerer gives his clumsy apprentice a crash course in the art of magic, which serves as the vehicle for montages galore.

As Maxim Horvath becomes only steps away from awakening the power of Morgana, it is time for Dave to step up and show what he has learned.  After all, he is supposed to be the most powerful sorcerer since Merlin himself.  Does Dave have what it takes?  Can he impress the lady-friend he’s been eyeing for the whole film?  Will New York City, and ultimately the world, be saved from Morgana?  If you aren’t curious, I’m sure your kids are.

It is easy to preditct the caliber of cinematic experience that is on tap when you see Disney, Bruckheimer, Turteltaub, and Cage (and a PG rating) all on the same poster.  There are going to be some kitschy catch phrases, overpowering pop songs scoring too many montages, and cheesy acting left-and-right.  The Sorcerer’s Apprentice contains all this and more, and ultimately does not bubble up to a successful brew.

Despite masquerading for some time as if it is not, this film is definitely for the kids.  It plays almost exactly like an earlier 2010 fantasy film, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief; a young prodigy travels across many different set pieces as he learns his newfound powers and ultimately attempts to unseat an overpowering dark force to save the world.  Yes, this is the premise of many films out there, but The Sorcerer’s Apprentice particularly lacked creativity or execution.  It only gets worse when Jay Baruchel’s character actually re-enacts the famed Fantasia scene when he summons cleaning supplies to clean his lab area prior to a date, scored with the original piece from the Mickey Mouse short.

A big problem is that this filmmaking foursome has produced much better efforts in the past.  It pains me to say that I actually enjoyed the two National Treasure films (the third one is on its way).  Those both told basic wild goose chase stories while showcasing hokey dialogue, but still managed to entertain.  The Sorcerer’s Apprentice only seemed to annoy and make me long for the exit doors.  Sure, your kids may love this film, but don’t let someone who loves “Yo Gabba Gabba” determine the films you go to the theater to see (not all the time, at least!).  Rent this film for the wee ones, and don’t subject yourself to this madness.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. windi permalink
    July 22, 2010 5:05 pm

    The boys want to see this, so I’ll probably be taking them. I sort of/kind of was curious about the movie. It looks “fun”. You know I’m no fan of Cage though, so I was waffling on it. But…..since the boys want to see it, I’ll probably go. hahaha I wasn’t expecting ‘great’ before I read this preview—reading this just confirms to me not to set my expectations too high!

  2. windi permalink
    August 8, 2010 11:54 pm

    took the boys tonight…Calvin has been wanting to go see it for a while. They loved the movie. I thought it was fun. You had to be careful or you could hurt yourself on all the holes in the plot though!

    The biggest issue was, how come Horgath wasn’t freaked out by the year 2010? How was he able to deal with it?

    It was all very silly, and the kids oohed and aahed at all the right spots and enjoyed it immensely, and because of that, I also enjoyed the movie.



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